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Insight Editions The Art of Blizzard Entertainment Limited Edition

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

The The Art of Blizzard Entertainment Collector’s Edition by Insight Editions is available on sale at online and local bookstores for $199.09. A great collection for those who love to collect this type of Blizzard licensed merchandise, and for art students.

Follow the link above to read the customer reviews and a video from a fan.

Description

Blizzard Entertainment changed gaming forever. From its humble beginnings as a three-person console-game development studio in 1991 to the creation of the blockbuster Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard has crafted stunning worlds of science fiction and fantasy for more than two decades.

An epic volume of visuals and behind-the-scenes insights, The Art of Blizzard Entertainment celebrates the genesis. This collection showcases nearly 700 pieces of concept art, paintings, and sketches accompanied by commentary from the Blizzard game development teams, including Nick Carpenter, Samwise Didier, and Chris Metzen. All three were essential in shaping Blizzard’s game universes over the years, and along with a team of international artists, revolutionized gameplay and storytelling. Artists such as Roman Kenny, Peter Lee, Bill Petras, Glenn Rane, and Wei Wang helped develop and expand Blizzard’s unique vision, and their contributions are featured here along with work by Brom, who offers a foreword to the collection. Millions of people around the globe play Blizzard games every day—The Art of Blizzard Entertainment is an opportunity to explore the core of what makes the experience so transporting.

This deluxe edition is bound in saifu cloth and accompanied by a portfolio of collector art prints, all housed in a finely crafted double-slot slipcase with foil stamping. Each deluxe edition also includes a card of authenticity hand-signed by Brom, Samwise Didier, and Wei Wang.

 

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DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice Paperback Pre-Orders Begin

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News

The DC Comics Diablo: Sword of Justice is coming back as a paperback or graphic novel. If you didn’t have the chance to read the 5-issues comics last year, you can get it now at a special pre-order discount — only $10.67.

Diablo: Sword of Justice is written by Aaron Williams and penciled by french artist Joseph Lacroix.

Book Description

From the world and legends of Sanctuary, the setting for the award-winning Diablo video game, comes this tale of a hero’s birth. Jacob has fled his homeland in the north, hunted by his kinsmen for the crime of murder. Led by the visions of an ancient prophet, pursued by his friends, Jacob finds his destiny—but will he be able to claim the sword that could save his people, if not the world, before he’s brought to justice? Collecting the 5-issue miniseries!

Interview

Check out the interview with Aaron Williams and Joseph LaCroix.

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San Diego Comic Con Infographics

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment creative team, DC Comics and Christie Golden led the Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo Swag Show Panel at the San Diego Comic Con in 2011.

The next San Diego Comic Con 2013 will happen on July 18-21, barely two months from now. The exhibitor list is still unavailable and Blizzard Entertainment has made no announcements at this point.

Social Monsters PR coordinator recently sent me an SDCC infographic to put into perspective the importance of this convention.

San Diego Comic Con is a 4-day multi-genre convention featuring the latest in comic book news, exclusive film and video game previews, celebrity guest panels and limited edition collectibles.

SDCC is currently the third largest comic con in the world with 130,000 attendees, barely surpassed by Japan and France’s convention.

It’s incredible that a convention of this magnitude internally operates with only 20-30 staff employees.

At the event itself, however, the organization counts with the support of 3,000 volunteers who get free access to the event.

Like BlizzCon, San Diego Comic Con has grown really quick the past four years. In 2009, tickets sold out after six months. In 2010, within 2 months. Out of the blue, fans went into an online frenzy attempting to get a ticket. It was sold out within 2 hours.

2012 and 2013? Within 90 minutes all tickets were sold out. This no doubt grabs the attention of video game studios, and other companies. There is a very high demand for tickets.

The infographics submitted by Ana Franklin (Social Monsters) provides another interesting analysis.

A single Super Bowl generates approximately $300 million. The estimated annual regional economic impact of the Comic Con was $180 million. A bit short in comparison with the Super Bowl, but it’s nigh there. Remember … Comic Con tickets began to sold out quicker than ever before since 2010-2013 which opens the door for future expansion.

The San Diego Convention Center is planning to increase floor space by 33% by 2016. By then, the floor space will be about 13 football fields long.

This type of infographics data might be in consideration by Blizzard Entertainment. We have been used to hear about upcoming Blizzard video games at BlizzCon, but the truth is that in the past 3 years Blizzard Entertainment has begun a trend of making announcements or bringing panels to other conventions outside BlizzCon.

For example, Diablo III (PS3) was playable by PAX East 2013 attendees, and Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft was announced at the same event just a few weeks ago.

At the Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel, Micky Neilson, Dave Kosak, UDON & Michael Stackpole announced upcoming novels and books at the New York Comic Con 2012. I was there and brought you video coverage. They announced World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects, World of Warcraft: Vol’jin, Shadows of the Horde, StarCraft II: Flashpoint, Diablo III: Heroes Rise, Darkness Falls, and the UDON World of Warcraft Tribute Art Book.

At the New York Comic Con 2011, I saw Insight Editions show the Art of Blizzard, and the Diablo III: Book of Cain. Nate Kenyon signed copies of StarCraft: Ghost – Spectres. The ESL Intel Extreme Masters tournament was celebrated there too.

In 2011, Blizzard made a few announcements at GamesCom (Germany): World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Patch 4.3 details, Diablo III Inferno Mode, Blizzard DOTA (now Blizzard All-Stars) and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Evolution Chamber UI and some single player missions.

As seen, these past 3-4 years have been busy for Blizzard Entertainment making announcements about either video games or licensed products outside BlizzCon.

San Diego Comic Con looks like a good candidate to continue Blizzard’s creative growth, and even better, it’s close to home — about two-hours-drive south of their Irvine headquarters. Will the SDCC be one day a center stage for video game announcements or gameplay demo stations? Only time will tell.

San Diego's Colossal Comic Convention by BuyCostumes.com
Thanks to BuyCostumes.com for bringing you this infographic!

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Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects Part IV

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, World of Warcraft News

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-coverIn Part IV of the World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects digital story, Richard A. Knaak continues the epic battle between Galakrond and the Proto-dragons who one day would become Dragon Aspects.

Best part of this chapter is that Watcher Tyr is helping the proto-drakes in battle.

In the present, Kalec is assaaulted by the artifact he found underneath Galakrond’s bones. Artifact which forces him to relive the past events through the eyes and thoughts of Malygos.

In Dalaran, Jaina searches the library for a book she remembers had studies about a similar artifact found long ago.

Readers will find in Part IV how Watcher Tyr lost his hand. This is it! This is the sacrifice remembered by the first humans throughout milennia. The legend that one day inspires the foundation of the Order of the Silver Hand.

The way this story has been split into 5-parts makes the craving for the story more impactful. Something shared by comics fans who wait eagerly for the next issue.

It is a matter of time for us now to read the last part of this story.

Many expectations ahead of us in the final part. Will we see the other Watchers? Will we see any resemblance of the human ancestors? Will we see the arrival of the Titans and the Ordering of the Dragon Aspects?

Even more important … the present. It is obvious that Tyr has come to the Nexus with a unknown mission. He chose Kalec or is testing him. As in times past, Tyr saw promise in the proto-drakes. Observed them. Tested them. Allied with them to fight a common foe.

The question is, what threat is looming in the horizon that made Tyr seek Kalec? This is not just a story mechanic to let us see Tyr and the proto-drakes.

This is New York Times Best Selling author Richard A. Knaak.

When it comes to upcoming expansions, Blizzard brings in the heavy-hitters to flesh out an epic story.

We know through Wrathion’s questline that a big threat is coming Azeroth’s way. The Burning Legion. Even more threatening. In my interview with Chris Metzen and Micky Neilson (2009) they said Sargeras is coming.

However, we know what happened last time 10,000 years ago when Sargeras attempted to enter Azeroth. How the Old gods manipulated that with the Dragon Soul.

If the Burning Legion is coming in the next expansion, the Old gods might not be too far. Could Tyr’s return in the present mean Galakrond will live again?

So many lingering questions. Hopefully, we will learn a few of them in the final part (due June 17).

World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part IV can be read on Kindle , iPad, Android and on your PC/MAC internet browser with the Kindle Cloud Reader.

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May 2013 – JINX Warcraft, StarCraft and Diablo III T-shirts $9.99 and $14.99

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

JINX has several Warcraft, Diablo and StarCraft T-shirts at $9.99 and $14.99

Note: Some of the prices are bound to be for male-only or female-only (in some cases). Make sure to check the pricing before ordering.

The newest T-shirts, hoodies and hats at regular prices +can be found here:

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Free World of Warcraft Graphic Novel Previews on iTunes and Kindle

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

free-warcraft-OGN-graphic-novel-previewDC Comics is offering a free downloadable previews of three popular World of Warcraft graphic novels for iTunes and Kindle users.

Download for Kindle | Download from iTunes

The Kindle version can be viewed by:

Kindle Cloud Reader (PC|Mac: Firefox, IE)
Kindle Keyboard
Kindle for iPad
Kindle for Android

Kindle
Kindle Touch
Kindle Paperwhite
Kindle Fire
Kindle Fire HD

Order the hardcover or digital version for:

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New Batch of Sideshow Arthas Polystone Statue Shipping Late May 2013

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

A new batch of Arthas Polystone Statues will be shipped out to customers at the end of May. Make sure to order yours soon. Only 3000 has been created in this limited edition.

Check out all the images and an interactive Quicktime VR 360 image here.

sideshow-arthas-the-lich-king-polystone-statue-300069_press03Returning to the World of Warcraft, Sideshow Collectibles is proud to announce the Arthas Statue. Crafted in high quality polystone, every facet of the dreaded Lich King is captured in detailed 1:5 scale. Wielding the Runeblade Frostmourne and measuring 19 inches tall atop the icy terrain of Northrend, the Arthas Statue is an impressive addition to any collection.

Product Size: 19″ H (482.6mm) x 19.5″ W (495.3mm) x 20″ L (508mm)*

Product Weight: 20.00 lbs (9.07 kg)*

Box Size: 21.00″ H (533.4mm) x 21.00″ W (533.4mm) x 22.00″ L (558.8mm)*

Est. Shipping Weight: 22.00 lbs (9.98 kg)*

Dimensional Weight (DIM): 53 lbs *

Int’l Dimensional Weight (DIM): 74 lbs *

Artists:

  • Anthony Mestas (Paint)
  • Bernardo Esquivel (Paint)
  • Idol Workshop (Sculpt)
  • Brian Fay (Sculpt)
  • Kingslayer Rhooria (Design)

Manufactured by: Sideshow Collectibles

Backstory

Arthas Menethil, son of King Terenas Menethil II and heir to the throne, received training as a paladin under the expert tutelage of Uther the Lightbringer. He was inducted into the Knights of the Silver Hand at age 19, and quickly became a renowned warrior in the savage First War.

However, his life would turn to darkness and corruption as he spearheads a battle against the unfathomable Plague of Undeath. Led by the dreadlord Mal’Ganis at the behest of the Lich King, the Scourge destroys the innocent, transforming them into an army of undead.

Obsessed with confronting Mal’Ganis and obtaining the Runeblade Frostmourne, Arthas gradually sacrifices soldiers and innocents alike, along with his loyalty to the Knights, his honor, and even his sanity.

When he succeeds in capturing the sword, it is the Lich King himself who speaks to Arthas and commands the slaying of Mal’Ganis. Now a death knight, he leads the Scourge, an instrument of destruction and evil. After murdering his own father, Arthas does not step onto the throne he was born to, but instead takes the mantle of Lich King.

 
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Diablo III Anniversary: SteelSeries Diablo III Peripherals 50% Promo Code

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News

SteelSeries is running a special promotion through May 15 until May 16th at 12am CST in celebration to the first anniversary of Diablo III. Get 50% off on all Diablo III peripherals by using the promo-code D3DAY at checkout – www.steelseries.com/diablo3

  • Diablo III Headset – The Diablo 3 Headset features red illumination, a retractable microphone, and a D3 inspired design that is just as intense as the game.

  • Diablo III Mouse – Co-designed with the creators of Diablo III, the D3 mouse is a durable powerhouse of a mouse that features demon red illumination and a slew of features that allow you to tailor this mouse to whatever job you need done while battling the powers of the Burning Hells.

  • Diablo III QcK Mousepads – Our world-famous cloth mousepad comes in 5 different Diablo III designs and provides the perfect gaming surface no matter how intense things get in-game.

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Blizzplanet Review – DC Comics World of Warcraft: Dark Riders

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, World of Warcraft News

I had the opportunity to read World of Warcraft: Dark Riders courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment (Thanks, Lyndsi). I had waited so long to get this Blizzard licensed product on my hands. The first time fans heard about World of Warcraft: Dark Riders was at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. Chris Metzen, Christie Golden, and Hank Kanalz (DC Comics) showcased several upcoming products at the Warcraft, StarCraft & Diablo Swag Show Panel held there.

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It’s been a while since the launch of the original World of Warcraft ongoing comics series. The series, formerly published by Wildstorm, ended with issue # 25. The main characters seen in Dark Riders were originally introduced in the World of Warcraft Special # 1 (Dec 16, 2009). Through advanced solicitations, it was known that two new titles based on the Horde and the Alliance would be launched shortly after the World of Warcraft Special # 1. However those titles never came to see the light.

On December 16th 2009, DC Entertainment announced through IGN the World of Warcraft comics had been cancelled, as well as the already-announced Horde and Alliance titles. From that moment forward, DC Entertainment was to publish graphic novels based on World of Warcraft.

Fast forwarding into the present, the Alliance graphic novel is World of Warcraft: Dark Riders. It is on sale as of May 10th. The Horde graphic novel World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn will be available on August 13, but pre-orders are available.

Artwork

The front cover by Alex Horley and Samwise Didier (Blizzard senior art director) looks awesome in glossy paper. It’s actually a book-jacket wrapped around the book. No one will blame you if you wish to frame it. The artwork has canvas texture, or gives the impression it was painted on one.

The interior artwork by Neil Googe looks different to what we have seen so far in the World of Warcraft ongoing comics, The Ashbringer, or even Curse of the Worgen.

The landscapes look very detailed and true to the game’s locations. Some of the areas explored in this story are:

  • Goldshire (Elwynn Forest)
  • Karazhan
  • Tower of Azora
  • Westfall
  • Gold Coast Quarry
  • Darkshire
  • Duskwood
  • Mannor Mismantle (Duskwood)
  • Tranqui Gardens (Duskwood)
  • Roland’s Doom
  • Raven Hill
  • The Opera Hall (Karazhan)
  • The Menagerie (Karazhan)

I have a complaint, but that’s just me. The armor of these Alliance heroes looks too simple. More work is needed to make the printed media and the game mesh further. I would have liked to see a really cool armor set for each class, and make the same set of the characters available to players in-game in the challenge mode rewards (for example).

Story

The story begins in Goldshire where the two main characters make screen time. Mardigan is a young and reckless man sent by his father, Mage Karlain, to the Lion’s Pride Inn to get a potion from an old friend alchemist.

Readers quickly find out about several groups revolving around the core of the story: the Wolf Cult from Darkshire, The Defias Brotherhood in Westfall, and the Dark Riders of Karazhan.

In the Tower of Azora, Theocritus summons the aid of Mage Karlain. The Dark Riders have been stealing artifacts of power throughout the region. Theotricus sent the Hand of Azora artifact to Westfall, in hopes of preventing its theft, and sends Karlain there to make sure it stays secure.

The third character of the team of heroes is introduced in the midst of The People’s Militia in Sentinel Hill. A priest unlike any we have ever seen with a nasty attitude — wait, is there one of any other kind?

The story has a nice pace moving from one place to the next, giving the reader a taste of what’s going on. Each character has his own motivation, but their paths are interwoven. All paths leading to the Dark Riders and the artifacts they have stolen.

I am usually positive in my reviews, but I try the best for my fanboyism not to cloud my judgement. The title is World of Warcraft: Dark Riders. However, at the end of my read I was left with disappointment. Their origin is explained by Brink, but I don’t know who were behind the masks, or who their new master in the present is, or what the goal to hoard these artifacts is.

We do learn these Dark Riders are not related to The Lich King’s Scourge, nor related to Gul’dan and his Shadow Council. Their origin goes way back to the era where Medivh was still possessed by Sargeras. However, none of that explains who the current master of the Dark Riders is. It would have made sense for this graphic novel if the Dark Riders were serving Prince Malchezzar and the artifacts were meant for a ritual to resurrect Sargeras (for example).

Other than Karlain, very scarce information is provided about each member of this team. I don’t know where the priest came from, or what organization Brink works for. Considering he is a rogue and knows so much intel, I’d guess his organization is Ravenholdt or SI:7.

There were so many loose ends in this graphic novel, I can’t but wonder if Blizzard Entertainment intends these characters to appear in an upcoming novel, website short stories (like Project Blackstone), or even wrap up these loose ends in the next expansion. Looks like cliffhangers set there on purpose.

world-of-warcraft-dark-riders-preview-4The Scythe of Elune was in the hands of the Wolf cult. The graphic novel doesn’t really reveal much about the Wolf cult. We know the Wolf cult deserter in Goldshire had seen something among the Wolf Cult that made him flee. I keep trying to understand what this might be that scared him, but I have no answer.

We need megalomaniac villains with long speeches to understand their motives. Kinda too cookie-cutter, but better than the scene where we see Gervase with the Scythe of Elune uttering not a single word.

I have a lot of expectations, and love when those are exceeded with a great story. Especially the great stories that the Dark Riders, the Scythe of Elune and the Worgen are deserved to be fleshed out more in this graphic novel.

The World of Warcraft: Ashbringer and the Curse of the Worgen are among the top World of Warcraft comics stories I have read. Those are favorites for many fans, not just me. This graphic novel should have exceeded the previous in terms of lore. Lot of stuff we didn’t know about Mograine and what transpired in Gilneas while players accomplished missions can be learned in those two independent stories.

That’s the rough part of the review. Now let’s go into the good stuff. This team of adventurers is a wreak. They aren’t friendly with each other, but they learn they need each other if they are to survive the many foes standing between them and their goal to retrieve the stolen artifacts.

With a team like this, the author Mike Costa no doubt had a lot of fun writing their dialogues which include tones of comedy, irreverence, and gray personalities. None is truly evil, but not completely good-hearted.

Mardigan is reckless and easy to be angered if provoked. He doesn’t need to be provoked, though. He picks on people he feels might be bothersome or staring. He’s young with the heart of a fighter, and headstrong.

Karlain is headstrong and rushes in without care. Like father, like son. The mage is too confident, self-absorbed and arrogant. A secret he’s kept from his son boils at his core.

Revil is the most annoying priest I have ever seen in any printed media. One might wonder if even the Scarlet Crusade would abhor his zealotry of the Light. Revil’s family was killed by the Wolf Cult. This event darkened his beliefs to a degree where he justifies the misfortune of people around him as something the Light approves to happen. An example is a couple of soldiers in Westfall fighting for a piece of bread. One stabs the other. Mage Karlain asks Revil to heal the wounded man, but instead he walks away saying his is not a mortal wound, and the pain will serve as penance for his selfishness. Revil is truly an A-hole. I love him.

Brink is an enigmatic gnome rogue. He knows a lot of intel about who the Dark Riders are, and even about the Wolf Cult. He even has deep knowledge about dragons. He’s a box of surprises, and no doubt I might want to hear more of him in the future. But please, open the box so we can learn a bit more. Deal?

This team really needed a dwarf hunter, and a Night Elf druid. From what Brink says at the end of the story, he will meet a night elf. I am uncertain of what the timeframe of this story is in relation to the present and other events. I assume Curse of the Worgen happens after Dark Riders based on what happens at the end, but it’s hard to be certain.

Regardless, while the graphic novel didn’t fill all of my expectations, the dynamic between the characters, their grey personalities and humor makes this graphic novel a good read. If you think this is a graphic novel for kids, think again. Lot of beheading, cleaving of arms and gore.

A toast to seeing these characters again pop in upcoming novels, limited series or website short stories. I’m looking forward for the World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn graphic novel (Horde version) and more stories. My mind hungers for more Warcraft lore and action.

I rarely rate my reviews, because numbers can’t really capture my opinion. An 8.5 only tells you I didn’t find it to be perfect. There was much more the story should have revealed and focused on. On the other hand, it was a fun read and I crave to hear more about these heroes.

Get your copy of World of Warcraft: Dark Riders. PC/Mac users can read this graphic novel on Firefox or Internet Explorer by choosing the Kindle link, then ordering the Kindle Cloud Reader version. Do you have an iPad, Android tablet or Kindle? This graphic novel is available for those devices too.

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Description

A brand-new original graphic novel featuring characters from the bestselling video game franchise, World of Warcraft!

A stalwart mage searches for a powerful artifact, stolen by dark riders, only to find his son accused of murder. A righteous priest, driven by a mysterious fervor, investigates a savage Wolf Cult. As the paths of these two men join, a fantastic adventure emerges! Supported by a cast of brave heroes, the two find out just how dangerous the wolf cult and dark riders are.

Justice, Courage, and Faith: These are the pillars of the Alliance. The faction, forged in the aftermath of a brutal and bloody war, has always sought to bring light to the dark corners of the world. Every day, scores of Alliance members travel far across Azeroth, fighting for good under the faction’s banner.

Yet other heroes, like the brilliant mage Karlain, begin their battles much closer to home. When his hot-tempered son disappears after being accused of murder, Karlain embarks on a journey that will take him from the dark and misty thickets of Duskwood to the haunted tower of Karazhan. Alongside Revil, an overzealous priest haunted by the past, the pragmatic mage works to uncover a mysterious connection between his missing son and a shadowy organization known as the Wolf Cult. What Karlain and his comrade discover will put their strength and resolve to the ultimate test.

To complicate matters, the two men are harried by the Dark Riders, enigmatic bandits who prowl Duskwood and other regions in search of rare artifacts. Only through tolerance and patience can Karlain and Revil restore order to their world… and to their own lives.

Further Reading: References

The final pages of “Dark Riders” has a section devoted to pinpoint where characters or topics mentioned in the graphic novel can be traced back in printed media or in-game continuity.

A glimpse into the lives of Karlain, Mardigan, Revil, and Brink before the events of this graphic novel can be found in World of Warcraft Special # 1 by Mike Costa and Pop Mhan (It is reprinted in World of Warcraft vol. 4 and also available in digital format for the PC/Mac and tablets).

The origins of the worgen have long been one of Azeroth’s great mysteries. Details about these savage beasts and the mysterious artifact that created them are offered in World of Warcraft: Wolfheart by Richard A. Knaak; World of Warcraft: Curse of the Worgen by Micky Neilson, James Waugh and Ludo Lullabi; and the short story “Lord of His Pack” by James Waugh (available on the WoW website). Both Curse of the Worgen and Wolfheart are available in paperback, digital book and audiobook formats. Follow the links.

Apart from the Dark Riders, other legends abound concerning Karazhan and the infamous Medivh, former Guardian of Tirisfal. More information about the haunted tower and its prior master is revealed in Warcraft: The Last Guardian by Jeff Grubb (of Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms and Magic: The Gathering fame). Warcraft: The Last Guardian was reprinted in a volume containing several Warcraft novels. You should order the WarCraft Archive.

Marshal Dughan, the stalwart defender of Elwynn Forest, makes an appearance in World of Warcraft: Stormrage by Richard A. Knaak, when he succumbs to the dreaded Emerald Nightmare. The book is available in paperback, digital book and audiobook formats.

Characters

Karlain (mage)
Mardigan – Karlain’s son
Marshal Dughan
Tannos
Revil Kost (Priest)
Theocritus (Tower of Azora)
Commander Althea Ebonlocke
Ambrose
Gervase (Wolf cult)
Jitters
Shagra (Wolf cult)
Gorfang
Brink (Gnome rogue)
The Curator

(ONLY MENTIONED)

Warlock Morganth
Aredhel (Karlain’s deceased wife seen in a vision of the past in Karazhan)
Medivh the Last Guardian

(GROUPS)

The Defias Brotherhood (Westfall)
Wolf Cult (Darkshire)
The People’s Militia (Sentinel’s Hill, Westfall)
Guard of the Watch (Darkshire, Duskwood)

(ARTIFACTS)

The Hand of Azora
The Scythe of Elune
The Cloak of Purity

Credits

The writer of “Dark Riders” is Mike Costa. He is written The Secret History of the Authority: Hawksmoor (Wildstorm, 2008), G.I. Joe (2008), Transformers: All Hail Megatron (2008), Resistance (2009), Transformers: Ironhide (2010) Hack/Slash (2011), Blackhawks (2011) — to name a few.

Neil Googe is the artist behind each “Dark Riders” panel. He is penciled for several comics since 1997. Shotgun Mary: blood Lore, Judge Dredd, X-men Unlimited # 41, Majestic, Wildcats: World’s End and more.

Colorists: Pierre Matterne, Lee Loughridge & Len O’Grady.

Letterer: Wes Abbott

Story Consultants: Chris Metzen & Alex Afrasiabi, Luis Barriga & Micky Neilson.

Cover: Alex Horley & Samwise Didier

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World of Warcraft: Dark Riders Graphic Novel on May 7, 2013

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

DC Comics and Blizzard Entertainment will launch the long-awaited World of Warcraft: Dark Riders on May 7, 2013. Pre-order now to get a 40% discount (Price: $15.10). Free shipping option available on $25+ orders.

The graphic novel was revealed at a Blizzard Entertainment Publishing Panel held at the 2011 San Diego Comic Con. Watch the panel video and transcript here.


World of Warcraft: Dark Riders (Graphic Novel)

WOW_DARK_RIDERS_COVERA brand-new original graphic novel featuring characters from the bestselling video game franchise, World of Warcraft!

In this new, original WORLD OF WARCRAFT graphic novel, a stalwart mage searches for a powerful artifact, stolen by Dark Riders, only to find his son accused of murder. A righteous priest, driven by a mysterious fervor, investigates a savage Wolf Cult. As the paths of these two men join, a fantastic adventure emerges! Supported by a cast of brave heroes, the two find out just how dangerous the wolf cult and dark riders are.

Written by: Michael Costa
Art by: Neil Googe
Cover by: Samwise Didier & Alex Horley
Page Count: 144
U.S. Price: $24.99
On Sale Date: May 7, 2013

 

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Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects (Part 3)

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, World of Warcraft News

The World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part III (only $1.99) is now available to be read online on your PC/Mac via the Amazon Cloud or on your Kindle device, iPad or other mobile device. (Look out for Free Reading Apps for those without a Kindle device).

The big reveal: Watcher Tyr is on the spotlight.

Description

world-of-warcraft-dawn-of-the-aspects-part-1-coverTHE AGE OF DRAGONS IS OVER.

Uncertainty plagues Azeroth’s ancient guardians as they struggle to find a new purpose. This dilemma has hit Kalecgos, youngest of the former Dragon Aspects, especially hard. Having lost his great powers, how can he—or any of his kind—still make a difference in the world?

The answer lies in the distant past, when savage beasts called proto-dragons ruled the skies. Through a mysterious artifact found near the heart of Northrend, Kalecgos witnesses this violent era and the shocking history of the original Aspects: Alexstrasza, Ysera, Malygos, Neltharion, and Nozdormu.

In their most primitive forms, the future protectors of Azeroth must stand united against Galakrond, a bloodthirsty creature that threatens the existence of their race. But did these mere proto-dragons face such a horrific adversary alone, or did an outside force help them? Were they given the strength they would become legendary for…or did they earn it with blood? Kalecgos’s discoveries will change everything he knows about the events that led to the…DAWN OF THE ASPECTS

PART I

The former Dragon Aspects are on the brink of going their separate ways to forge new destinies. As Kalecgos ponders the uncertain future awaiting his kind, he uncovers a mysterious artifact that allows him to see through the eyes of his late predecessor, Malygos. Intense visions bombard Kalecgos, transporting him to a time when the original Aspects were no more than primitive proto-dragons. Across ancient Kalimdor’s northern plains, they fought for survival against each other and a terrifying creature that dominated the era: the Father of Dragons, Galakrond. But many questions remain for Kalecgos. What are the origins of this strange artifact? Are its visions a gift, or a curse?

 

Part III Highlights

The Dawn of the Aspects saga continues as Kalec has no option but to witness through Malygos’ eyes the experiences of the proto-dragons who would one day become Dragon Aspects. There are several topics to browse through in this third installment:

  • As seen in Part 1 (of 5), Kalec found a relic beneath Galakrond’s skeleton that triggered a series of flashbacks in his mind, as if the artifact had a mind of its own.

  • The flashbacks show Malygos playing detective and hunter, spying upon the proto-dragon Coros and the behemoth Galakrond.

  • Jaina Proudmoore has communicated often with Kalec in the previous Dawn of the Aspect parts, but in Part III she takes a more active role as she comes in person to the Nexus to find out what’s wrong with Kalec.

  • Unbeknownst to Kalec, while he was unconscious witnessing Malygos’ past, Jaina had found the relic within the Nexus. She identified its spellwork as that of Titan origin. Jaina has knowledge of the Keepers of Ulduar — remember this story happens shortly after the Purge of Dalaran (Patch 5.1).

  • The hooded humanoid haunting Kalec in the present and Malygos in the far past is revealed. It’s a keeper. One of Ulduar Watchers. We were right all along with the clues. It is Watcher Tyr.

  • As a continuity nod, Tyr refers to the land as Kalimdor, even though they are in Northrend. This is because The Sundering that caused the flooding of the seas and the Maelstrom is yet to happen several milennia later. The lands we know as Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms was formerly a massive continent in this time period.

  • Jaina is abruptly teleported to the skeleton of Galakrond at the spot where Kalec earlier dug the relic from. Buniq (wiki) — the spirit of the female Taunka talks to Jaina. This taunka died in the pages of Warcraft: Legends Vol. 3: Fiend (Tokyopop manga).

Review

We have read so far three parts out of a total of five in this monthly-format. I like this new format. Costs only $1.99, and keeps you hungering for more. On the other hand, reading in increments of only 30-50 pages allows you to read in one sweep, and resume your daily chores in real life and in-game.

Reading 387 pages is a daunting task that might take up to six hours or longer depending how fast people reads. So, reading it in short amounts is flexible.

In this third installment, we finally see the hooded figure. Watcher Tyr shows himself before proto-dragon Malygos. The Watcher has been able to stealth his presence even to Kalec and Jaina, who are among the top spellcasters in Azeroth.

In the far past, Tyr admits he has watched all of the proto-drakes for a long time. The other watchers keep to themselves secluded in Ulduar, without interacting much with the daily affairs of lesser creatures outside.

Tyr observes the outside world. It’s implied the Watchers have been experimenting, and Galakrond is somehow consequence of what the Watchers did or lacked to do. It’s not yet clear in Part III.

So far we know that Galakrond was the same size as any other proto-dragon, but something caused him to grow massively in size. Worser yet, he has a dark hunger that causes him to eat other proto-drakes. These are raised as no-living or undead proto-drakes after he pukes them out of his gullet — serving him as mindless drones.

I think there is much more to this than what has been revealed thus far. Keep reading Part 4 (May 20) and Part 5 (June 22).

I can’t wait to learn more about Watcher Tyr in the far past, and even more important — why is Watcher Tyr watching Kalec and showing him from afar the visions of the past? Why did Watcher Tyr teleport Jaina from Dalaran to the bones of Galakrond?

It all seems as if something dire from the past is about to happen in the near future, and Watcher Tyr requires the help of mortals. Doesn’t it all sounds like a groundwork for the upcoming unannounced expansion? Hint: BlizzCon 2013 might announce the next World of Warcraft expansion.

The Battle Rages On

Located at the final page of Part III is read:

“The Cataclysm changed Azeroth and its myriad peoples in many ways. Dawn of the Aspects depicts the uncertainty that now plagues the ancient dragons. But what lies ahead for the world’s other races?

In World of Warcraft’s fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, you can help shape this next chapter in Azeroth’s history. Become one of the first members of the Horde or the Alliance to explore the mysterious and exotic continent of Pandaria. Or take on the role of a noble pandaren (WoW’s latest playable race) and join the Horde or the Alliance, depending on which faction aligns more with your ideals. Regardless of the side you choose, your adventures will impact Azeroth in the years to come.

With the dragons forging new destinies for themselves, the task for safeguarding the world from evil has fallen to mortal hands — your hands. Will you rise to the challenge?

To dicover the ever-expanding realm that has entertained millions around the globe, go to WorldofWarcraft.com and download the free trial version. Live the story.”

Jim Raynor Statue

Would You Buy Blizzard Entertainment Life-Size Figures?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzard Entertainment has had a long history with WETA and with sculptor|make-up artist Steve Wang both which have created awe-inspiring life-sized statues based on Diablo, World of Warcraft and StarCraft iconic characters. Some of these statues can be seen throughout several departments in the Blizzard Headquarters campus.

Visiting Blizzard Entertainment is not exclusive to press, fansites and celebrities. YOU can actually request a tour and schedule a visiting date by emailing tours@blizzard.com.

The most notorious statue is the massive orc wolfrider standing proud at the center of the Blizzard campus.

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We have seen the other life-size statues at BlizzCon: Tyrael, Jim Raynor, Illidan, StarCraft: Ghost Nova, and Kerrigan the Queen of Blades.

Sideshow Collectibles is currently selling the T-800 Version 2.0 Life-Size Figure. After reading the instructions PDF I noticed you can actually mount it yourself. The statue is shipped in pieces, and you assemble it like you would a LEGO.

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Sideshow is also producing the Darth Malgus Life-Size Figure. And guess what? Sideshow Collectibles just announced today the Iron Man 3 Mark XLII Life-Size Figure.

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I have visited Sideshow Collectibles website several times monthly for the past 6-7 years. The Terminator one was announced back in 2010, but this is the first time I see Sideshow actually shipping and announcing new upcoming life-sized statues. So it wasn’t just a one-time thing. Sideshow is really getting into life-size statue licenses. Currently the Star Wars, Terminator and Marvel Comics licenses are in the spotlight at Sideshow.

This really made me ponder. Sideshow Collectibles currently sells the following Blizzard licensed products: the Arthas Polystone Statue, the Diablo Polystone Statue (Sept 2013) and the StarCraft II Sixth Scale Figures.

How long will it be before Sideshow Collectibles announces a Tyrael Life-Sized statue? Or a Jim Raynor Life-Sized Statue. Or a King Varian / Thrall Life-Sized Statue? Would you love having one of these? Heck, can you even afford it?

Sideshow seems to sell these Life-Size statue at a flat $5,999 price with a monthly payment option. I’d say the majority of fans might need to build additional pylons and more probes to afford it. However, there are people who can afford it. Otherwise, these three licensed statues wouldn’t be currently in development. There is a niche of fans taking them home.

Update (April 23, 2013): A Sideshow Collectibles representative told Blizzplanet: “Life-Size figures for Blizzard Entertainment licenses aren’t out of the realm of possibility but at this time there are no projects in the works for any Life-Size Figures from Diablo, Word of Warcraft, etc.”

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Robert Clotworthy Auctions 9 (of 10) StarCraft II Series 1 Jim Raynor Action Figure

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

Our old friend Robert Clotworthy (voice of Jim Raynor) is auctioning the 9 (of 10) signed StarCraft II Jim Raynor Action Figure. At the time of this posting, bids are currently up at $213. As a reminder, all the money will be donated to the winner’s choice of non-profit charity organization.

What does the winner get back other than a signed action figure box? Glad you asked deep in your mind. Read the original eBay post:

starcraft-ii-jim-raynor-signed-number-9My name is Robert Clotworthy and since 1998 I have been the voice of Jim Raynor in the iconic video game StarCraft.

I have decided to dust off 10 Terran Outlaw Jim Raynor Series 1 Collector Action Figures from my personal collection on board the Hyperion and auction each one with the profits going to charity.

This item is brand new and unopened.

Each one will be signed by me and numbered. I will also include a personalized note of authenticity written on a Jim Raynor wanted poster note pad.

And to really get the juices flowing, I will also record a greeting from Jim Raynor and send that to the winning bidder.

This is a limited offer Marines, I am only going to sign and number 10 of these. This is for #9 in the series.

I am not limiting this to Terran players only. Protoss players may bid and I will hold my nose and even accept bids from Zerg.

This auction is open to everyone, not just limited to fans in the US. I will even ship to Char or Mar Sara if the winning bidder is willing to pay shipping.

So break out your wallets StarCraft fans, this is the opportunity to own something truly unique and send some money to charity.

As Jimmy says in Heart of the Swarm, “I never gave up on you Sarah… don’t you give up on us!”

Raiders Roll!

Robert Clotworthy

 
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Easter 2013 Promo: JINX T-Shirts, Caps, and Hoodies 35% Off

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

This is NOT an April’s Fools alert. J!NX is running a risky but serious promo through April 1-5. Several T-shirts, Caps, Polos and Hoodies are now 35% off. There are 17 pages worth of products that qualify to this promo. I just ordered two hats, the promo did work after checkout.

Among them I see the Diablo III Tyrael and Demon Hunter hoodie (now $45-46), the World of Warcraft Monk and Pandaren hoodie, even the StarCraft II Terran Jacket. In addition, the StarCraft II, Diablo III and Horde/Alliance Logo Caps, and many favorite T-shirts included in the promo. Check it out!

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Trivial Pursuit: World of Warcraft Edition Pre-Order Available

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

The Quick Play Trivial Pursuit: World of Warcraft Edition pre-order is now available at Entertainment Earth. The game is slated to ship on September 2013.

I’ll alert you once more details of the product become available. Stay tuned for our preview, review and giveaways when the time is nigh.

  • World of Warcraft Edition Quick Play Trivial Pursuit!
  • Recommended for ages 8 and up.
  • Show off your World of Warcraft knowledge by acing 600 questions across 6 categories!

For the first time, America’s favorite trivia game teams up with the world’s most popular multiplayer online role playing game World of Warcraft with World of Warcraft Edition Quick Play Trivial Pursuit! Fans of the WoW game series can show off their knowledge by acing 600 questions across 6 categories including Geography, Player Characters, Lore, Loot, Villains, and Encounters. World of Warcraft Edition Quick Play Trivial Pursuit features dice inspired by World of Warcraft and sculpted baby murloc movers. Recommended for ages 12 and up. For 2 to 36 players.

toy-fair-2013-1768 Trivial Pursuit World of Warcraft Edition

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Blizzplanet @ PAX East 2013 – Countdown to Awesome: New Blizzard Game

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, PAX East 2013, StarCraft 2 News, World of Warcraft News

Blizzplanet staff member Miaari is attending the Blizzard Entertainment Press Event at PAX East 2013 in Boston this upcoming Friday, March 22nd. Blizzard Entertainment invited a handful of Gaming sites and fansites to the event, including Blizzplanet.

There, Blizzard Entertainment plans to announce a new video game.

There are two things we want our visitors to know.

1. Miaari is taking video of the entire game announcement. Make sure to check us during the weekend for any update on when the video will be available or subscribe to our Blizzplanet Weekly YouTube Channel for an automated alert.

2. We are taking questions from fans to forward them to the developers at PAX East. You can ask bonafide questions about Diablo III (PS3) or about the new game to be announced. You can submit your questions below in the comments (can login with Facebook, Google or Disqus account), or you can submit your question at the following Facebook page or via Twitter using the @Blizzplanet #BlizzardPAXEast hashtag.

Those who attend PAX East, you should visit the Blizzard booth to meet @Lylirra @vaeflare @cm_zarhym @cm_phenteo @thelyns

 

If you didn’t watch our most recent Blizzplanet Weekly with host Chris Arnone, click the image below to launch the video. He discusses our speculations on what this new Blizzard game is. Could it be related to StarCraft II Project Blackstone? Warcraft related? A mobile game?

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Blizzplanet Review – World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects – Part II

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, World of Warcraft News

The World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects: Part II will be available to fans on Monday, March 18th. Order it now, and get an alert when it’s ready for download on your favorite mobile OS or on your favorite internet browser.

Review

I find amusing Richard A. Knaak’s way to tell the story. It’s as if we, the readers, were a passenger on Kalec’s mind — who in turn is a passenger on Malygos’ mind and eyes.

I have to admit it’s hard to review pieces of a story, one piece at a time, instead of the whole story. Part II of Dawn of the Aspects leaves more questions than answers. The hooded figure appears several times throughout the story, but still no trace of who this humanoid might be to be confirmed. What some fans have speculated is this character might be Ulduar Watcher Tyr, but so far there is no evidence to support the theory.

The origin of the undead proto-dragons is still a mystery — other than these are the proto-dragons swallowed, then puked lifeless by Galakrond. We learn Galakrond was like the other proto-dragons, but no answers on how he became into a hulking behemoth. I have read fans speculation that the Old gods might have something to do with that.

In this era, there were several proto-dragons of colors we aren’t aware of, but there were also other smaller proto-dragons that Malygos considered as lesser animals without their intellect which needed to be herded and protected. Interesting.

Jaina appears, a couple of times, communicating with Kalec through their magical link.

Coros the blue-green proto-dragon appears often, and we might learn why Malygos distrusts him, with good reason.

We learn the brown proto-dragon’s identity: Nozdormu. Alexstrasza, Ysera and Neltharion have plenty of screen time in Part II.

I find it interesting that Richard A. Knaak explores the close friendship between Malygos and Neltharion in this early age of Azeroth. Remember, Neltharion wasn’t a dragon aspect in this age, and thus he wasn’t the earth-warder yet to have been corrupted by the Old gods.

That doesn’t mean Neltharion didn’t have his cunning and core personality in the baggage back then.

Something revealed in Part I, the proto-dragons were born in batches of three. Alexstrasza and Ysera were born from the same hatch of eggs. A third male brother was born. He seems to have died, devoured by Galakrond.

I recommend to read part II, even when our questions aren’t addressed yet. That’s mostly a byproduct of the story being split into a 5-part online book. The third installment will be available on April 22, 2013.

Characters

Zorix – shining golden proto-dragon
Talonixa – Zorix’s female mate
Coros – blue-green proto-dragon
Nozdormu
Alexstrasza
Neltharion
Malygos
Ysera
Kalec
Jaina
Galakrond

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Description – World of Warcraft: Dawn of the Aspects – Part I

THE AGE OF DRAGONS IS OVER.

Uncertainty plagues Azeroth’s ancient guardians as they struggle to find a new purpose. This dilemma has hit Kalecgos, youngest of the former Dragon Aspects, especially hard. Having lost his great powers, how can he—or any of his kind—still make a difference in the world?

The answer lies in the distant past, when savage beasts called proto-dragons ruled the skies. Through a mysterious artifact found near the heart of Northrend, Kalecgos witnesses this violent era and the shocking history of the original Aspects: Alexstrasza, Ysera, Malygos, Neltharion, and Nozdormu.

In their most primitive forms, the future protectors of Azeroth must stand united against Galakrond, a bloodthirsty creature that threatens the existence of their race. But did these mere proto-dragons face such a horrific adversary alone, or did an outside force help them? Were they given the strength they would become legendary for . . . or did they earn it with blood? Kalecgos’s discoveries will change everything he knows about the events that led to the . . . DAWN OF THE ASPECTS.

PART I

The former Dragon Aspects are on the brink of going their separate ways to forge new destinies. As Kalecgos ponders the uncertain future awaiting his kind, he uncovers a mysterious artifact that allows him to see through the eyes of his late predecessor, Malygos. Intense visions bombard Kalecgos, transporting him to a time when the original Aspects were no more than primitive proto-dragons. Across ancient Kalimdor’s northern plains, they fought for survival against each other and a terrifying creature that dominated the era: the Father of Dragons, Galakrond. But many questions remain for Kalecgos. What are the origins of this strange artifact? Are its visions a gift, or a curse?

kalec-dawn-of-the-aspects

PART II

Powerful visions of history torment Kalecgos, forcing him to witness Galakrond’s brutality firsthand. The ravenous beast terrorizes ancient Kalimdor, consuming everyone in his path. The original Aspects and other proto-dragons struggle to temper their savage rivalries long enough to make a stand against their merciless enemy, but their efforts might prove useless. A horrific new threat is rising from Galakrond’s shadow: the undead. Apart from this chilling discovery, Kalecgos is troubled by a mysterious hooded figure from the distant past who appears in the present, pushing the blue dragon’s sanity to the breaking point.

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Excerpt

Malygos flew alone again, the proto-dragon warier than ever. Thanks to images flashing through Malygos’s mind, Kalec quickly understood why. The proto-dragon flew over lands to the east, where there had been several sightings of the not-living. However, as with many other things in previous visions, the exact reason why Malygos was scouting on his own was not so apparent.

As with the last area the proto-dragon had flown over, the landscape below appeared empty of animal life. However, in this bleak place, neither Kalec nor his host had expected to see many beasts. Still, Kalec gathered that Malygos had seen absolutely nothing.

Alighting on a low peak, Malygos peered around. More thoughts crept through Kalec’s mind, filling in some missing pieces. Malygos sought the reason for Galakrond’s frightful transformation into this hungry fiend terrorizing all, and he sought it very near where the behemoth kept his lair.

Kalec questioned the sanity of what Malygos desired but had no choice but to hope that Galakrond was far, far away. Malygos believed that to be the case, but both were aware that there was a chance he was wrong.

Malygos’s heart pounded from tension as the proto-dragon drew nearer to where the lair was presumed to be. The peaks there were so tall it seemed that they were trying to touch the cloud-enshrouded sun. Such giant mountains would be likely to provide caverns large enough to house a monster the size of Galakrond.

Something below caught Malygos’s attention. He dived toward it. At first, Kalec saw only rock, but then he realized that a portion of that rock was of a disquieting and familiar color.

The bones had lain there for some time, possibly four or five seasons. Those that were visible indicated a beast as large as many proto-dragons—or, as Malygos discovered after scraping away the earth from one area, it was an actual proto-dragon.

This one had perished violently. Many of the bones were cracked, and the partial skull that verified just what lay there had been crushed by a tremendous force.

Galakrond, Kalec knew. Here was an early victim. While to him it only served to show just how long Galakrond had been on his murderous rampage, Malygos evidently saw something more in the bones.

Although no one had yet witnessed how Galakrond reduced some of his victims to emaciated corpses that would rise as parasitic undead, the evidence of their existence was without question after Malygos’s battles. Yet Kalec now wondered, if this was one of the leviathan’s prey, why had it not transformed as the others had?

Silence reigned about them, but something made Malygos look to his right. To Kalec’s observation, there was nothing to see. Even a proto-dragon as courageous as Malygos could not be blamed for being jumpy under such conditions.

Returning to the bones, Malygos nudged a few around. With little exception, they revealed that Galakrond had ripped apart and chewed up this unfortunate creature. Malygos’s memories of a much smaller but still imposing Galakrond briefly arose, giving Kalec a startling glimpse of how the latter had changed. Galakrond as seen in the earlier stage had looked much more like a normal proto-dragon and not nearly large enough to swallow others whole. His body also had had a smoother, streamlined appearance. His coloring had been more muted, and the eyes had not had that incessant hungering look to them.

Malygos continued to ferret around among the bones, seeking clues. It was yet another hint—not that Kalec needed one—of how intricate his host’s thinking was compared with that of many of the other proto-dragons.

Somehow, he survived, the disembodied blue thought. Somehow, some of them survived… but how?

The proto-dragon tensed again. This time, Malygos looked skyward.

To the east, a shape already far too massive to be a normal proto-dragon raced toward the mountains—and Malygos’s position.

The mountains were too far away for Malygos to reach before he would be seen. Kalec’s host had no choice but to flatten himself out where he was. His coloring did not blend with the land, but the hope was that Galakrond would not fly near enough to notice.

A constant, heavy beat preceded Galakrond, the sound of his vast wings flapping. Malygos knew that with each beat, the gigantic proto-dragon crossed miles. The beat grew louder, closer. Malygos and Kalec knew that Galakrond was almost upon them.

But then the beat began to recede. Through narrowed eyes, Malygos watched Galakrond head away from him and toward the mountains. However, just as the icy-blue proto-dragon dared draw a new breath, Galakrond halted. Hovering, the behemoth suddenly began heaving as if choking on something.

Neither Malygos nor Kalec paid much mind at first to whatever assailed Galakrond, the giant creature’s physical appearance drawing their initial attention. Although it could not have been that long since the vision in which they had previously encountered Galakrond, Kalec was especially stunned by how much more misshapen the fiend had become. Not only was Galakrond oddly distorted, but he now had several growths randomly dotting his body. There were also a number of gray splotches that made it seem as if parts of Galakrond were decaying.

But just as Malygos and Kalec came to grips with this new, deformed Galakrond, the monster disgorged what had caused him such distress.

Bodies. More than a score of shriveled, limp proto-dragon bodies. They dropped in a horrendous heap to the ground, some flopping about as they struck. Malygos radiated immense distress at the sight, not only because of the awful slaughter but also because among the limp forms, he saw red, brown, gray, and even greenish-yellow bodies.

 
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Blizzplanet Review: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Product Reviews, Blizzard Products News, Blizzplanet Reviews, StarCraft 2 News

The StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign has shattered all my wild expectations. Even all my predictions based on the “Vengeance” Trailer were utterly wrong.

Wings of Liberty had a great story, but Heart of the Swarm is simply awesome. That on itself is a feat, considering it is the Zerg episode in the StarCraft II trilogy, and zerg do not talk, right?

Kerrigan the Queen of Blades has several supporting characters that assist her throughout her campaign to dispense vengeance upon Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. These zerg are Zagara the broodmother, Dehaka, Izsha, Abathur (Evolution Pit), and another servant I wouldn’t want to spoil.

In Wings of Liberty, Jim Raynor had the Cantina, the Bridge, Engineering and the Lab to move around aboard the Hyperion in terms of UI Navigation for the player. I remember the developers arguing about how to approach this, and it hadn’t been set in stone yet back then. Zerg do not socialize nor drink alcohol, the Engineering and Lab’s purpose is basically one and the same for the Zerg.

The StarCraft II Team narrowed it down to the most important aspects of the Zerg: what qualifies as a Bridge, the Evolution Pit, and Kerrigan’s Talent tree.

The Bridge

The bridge is the mouth of a zerg Leviathan — a massive space-traveling whale (reminds me of the Brood’s Acanti — X-Men). As players progress through the story, more support characters appear at the bridge and players can interact with them. It’s very entertaining to click these characters to access an in-game cutscene between Kerrigan and the support character. Lot of lore to learn from them in each mission.

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The Evolution Pit

After each mission, players usually see a new cutscene at the Evolution Pit between Kerrigan and Abathur. He was created by the Overmind from the genetic pool of different species to oversee the evolution of the zerg into perfect weapons of strength and essence.

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Players should go here to upgrade units like the Zergling, Hydralisk, Roach, Baneling, Ultralisk, Mutalisk and the Swarm Host — as each unit becomes available.

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Upgrade points can be acquired by completing the bonus objectives of each mission. These unlock new evolution missions which allow you to test two different strands of each unit in combat. At the end of these evolution missions, the player is given the option to choose which of the two strands to keep for future missions. Choose wisely. The choice is permanent.

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Kerrigan’s Talent Tree

StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm borrows — to some degree — from the Warcraft III Hero system and the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria talent tree system. I gotta admit it makes sense. Kerrigan is the Heart of the Swarm. She takes center stage in this zerg-centered episode in the trilogy.

Kerrigan is playable in most of the Heart of the Swarm single-player missions. In addition, there are certain missions where support characters become playable heroes when Kerrigan isn’t available. Each support character hero with its own unique abilities.

Players get access to the Kerrigan Talent Tree tab through the zerg Leviathan bridge UI — which is located at the bottom of the screen. Initially, players may choose one out of two talent options, but eventually a new column is added — giving players the ability to choose one out of three options per row.

In each mission, Kerrigan earns experience points, but completing bonus objectives adds a large chunk of experience. Not easy to complete these bonus objectives, but for those who are daring and have lots of time to invest, go for it. Kerrigan can grow up to level 70.

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Some of the talents add a new attack icon to the Kerrigan unit, while other talent options function as a passive adding special traits to Kerrigan (like spawning two Banelings when Kerrigan is hit) or special traits to zerg units or even to zerg structures.

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Personally, I like Kinetic Blast, which one-shots any enemy unit except for Battlecruisers (but those get around 70% damage though). Mend heals Kerrigan for 150 life and friendly biological units nearby get healed for 50 life, plus another 25 life regenerated over 15 sec. My favorite though is accessible near the final missions and helps so much … Apocalypse. With this AOE ability Kerrigan can wipe anything within a large radius including buildings.

That’s like having your own silo and nuke in the palm of your hands. The catch is it has a 3 sec casting time, and Kerrigan is under heavy attack during this cast time in some situations. Apocalypse Deals 300 damage to enemy units and 700 damage to enemy structures in a large area. It has a 300 sec cooldown and costs 100 energy. I wouldn’t be too worried about spending energy. In Heart of the Swarm, Kerrigan has only 100 energy, but the energy regeneration is very fast allowing you to cast different abilities within 2-5 seconds. There are certain situations where you can simply send Kerrigan to wipe a group or raid a base all by her own with some patience (cooldowns), and micro skills.

The Kerrigan Talent Tree feature is more simple and straightforward than the Mists of Pandaria talent tree. You can view the stats of each talent and when you are ready to choose one, simply click that talent and hit the [back] button. No need to click buttons to confirm you want that talent and there is no such thing as respec limitations. Simply choose another option.

All your talent choices will be active once you start your next mission. Whoever designed this Talent Tree, did an amazing job. I might actually try other talents when I run the entire single-player campaign to hunt for achievements.

Archives

In Wings of Liberty, the Archives is accessed by clicking the computer console in the back of the bridge room. The Archive UI is kinda too crammed in and compact for my taste. It looks great, make no mistake, but in terms of flexibility and comodity the missions list is too small and narrow forcing you to scroll down a lot to find your desired mission or cinematic.

In Heart of the Swarm, the Archive can be found at the bottom of the Leviathan bridge alongside other navigation UI options. Now when you click the Archive and the page opens up — wow! Blizzard uses a large chunk of the page height to display all the missions and cinematics. Much better: the right pane is wider and gives you an image preview of what the mission or cinematic contains. It helps you understand and/or remember what that mission was about. I can’t say the same for the Wings of Liberty’s Archive where I sometimes wondered where to find a specific mission or cinematic because the title didn’t help much.

Just a sign that the StarCraft II Team nailed every possible setback in the prior system, and polished the Heart of the Swarm UI thoroughly thinking about the player.

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Creative Team – Heart of the Swarm Storyline

I am speechless. Brian Kindregan, Chris Metzen and anyone else involved in the storyline — you guys blew away all my expectations, conspiracy theories and predictions. To set the record straight, my “Vengeance” trailer predictions were completely smashed into oblivion. Utterly wrong in all predictions.

As revealed in the final pages of StarCraft II: Flashpoint, Kerrigan is taken to a secret lab within the Umojan Protectorate. The StarCraft II: Kerrigan – Hope and Vengeance # 0 Free Comics launched a week before the expansion release date revealed a scene between Kerrigan and Valerian Mengsk in said lab.

Heart of the Swarm starts where the comics left off. Kerrigan is undergoing her last tests. Jim Raynor enters the lab and asks Kerrigan to forget her path of vengeance, and to not give up on their relationship. Shortly after, Terran Dominion battlecruisers show up on the sky and deploy pods which penetrate the hull to infiltrate the lab. What happens next is for you to find out.

I don’t think I wish to spoil the storyline here. At least not yet. Kerrigan has a powerful reason to seek out the rampant zerg broods and to get them back under her control. One of her two motivations is to fulfill her vengeance against Emperor Arcturus Mengsk.

I was pleased to see Zeratul, though briefly, with Kerrigan. I don’t think this is a spoiler because we have seen Zeratul and Kerrigan in the Vengeance Trailer. Zeratul doesn’t even defend himself when Kerrigan (human form) assaults him. As seen in our Protoss Campaign transcript, Tassadar showed Zeratul a vision of the future the Overmind foresaw. In this future, Kerrigan had been slain at planet Char. The hybrids and their master had set the universe ablaze, and only one distant world remained as the last bastion of what remained of the Protoss civilization. In those desperate final moments, Zeratul, Hierarch Artanis and High Executor Selendris fought to the bitter end. The Fallen One revealed only one could have stopped his plans: Kerrigan. In their arrogance, the Protoss thought her to be the real threat.

It is no surprise that Zeratul would want to swallow his pride and to seek Kerrigan. As with Wings of Liberty, Zeratul appeared briefly in Heart of the Swarm. His wish: to show Kerrigan her next path. A path she most focus on in order to fulfill her role in altering the Overmind’s prophecy.

At first, Kerrigan is reluctant in chasing this path suggested by Zeratul. She doesn’t believe in the prophecy and she doesn’t wish to be a toy in its schemes. Zeratul is very convincing anyhow. Chasing down the path laid by Zeratul will allow her to fulfill her vengeance against Emperor Arcturus Mengsk. That’s enough for Kerrigan. Thus, she embarks into deep space to seek what Zeratul suggested. A planet many fans have no doubt wished to one day visit, or at least to learn more lore of.

Somewhere in their minds, Fans are going to scream like 5-age girls in excitement when this mission pops in their Heart of the Swarm single-player campaign.

I did never ever expect to see any of this lore happening. Blizzard Entertainment surprised me, and the reason Kerrigan must go there meshed so very well with the prophecy and how she might be able to beat the Hybrids’ master. I loved this twist.

There are two aspects of the lore in Heart of the Swarm I want to briefly mention without blowing Spoilers directly. Those who read StarCraft II: Flashpoint, concerning Narud and the Moebius Factor, that’s going to be wrapped up in Heart of the Swarm. I’m not going to say anything further. That’s for you to find out and unravel.

Another non-spoiler sort of spoilerish thing I want to share — did that make sense? — is another continuity nod. This one hails from a secret mission only found in the StarCraft 64 (Nintendo). Yup! It is canon, fanboys. You will see … you will see. Bet some fans are gonna do some homework to find out.

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Voice Over

I really have to thank Chris Metzen a million more times for bringing back Robert Clotworthy to voice Jim Raynor. This iconic character represents the potential hero within all of us. No matter how hard life is, and how injustice crushes us to a pulp. One draws strength from anything that’s important to us. We stand up, clear the dust, and We fight for our dreams — and dispense indiscriminate justice.

Robert Clotworthy is the heart of Jim Raynor. His voice. Robert isn’t replaceable. Robert is the soul of Jim Raynor, and the soul of all the millions of fans who love StarCraft. Thank you, Chris for listening to the fans.

Jim Raynor doesn’t have a lot of screen time in Heart of the Swarm, considering this is the Zerg campaign and Kerrigan is the main character and the driving force of this second episode. Yet, I feel Robert’s voice drew out the right tinges to set Kerrigan’s humanity and essence afloat. There’s care and love in his tone. Just because he sounds soft, doesn’t mean he isn’t the usual Jim Raynor. We get to see his dark humor and sarcasm the way only Robert can do it.

Real people out there have real-life difficulties and regrets in their lives. Those in the military — far away from home. Far away from family. Those who are unemployed like me. Those who have disabilities. Those who are socially or politically oppressed (name your applicable country here). I can mention many others who fit the bill. I fall into the unemployed and disabled categories (without the benefits of one at the moment). Add to that homeless. It’s been nigh two years.

It’s been a very mean and hard year and a half. Other person would be deeply frustrated and depressed. I gotta admit I have tasted some of that. Yet, gaming and daily updating a fansite keeps my mind soothed, and busy.

I live and experience sci-fi and fantasy worlds with characters that breath and shine hope and feelings that I have felt before, and feelings I have never experienced before, but my heart feels theirs as my own. I assimilate and evolve through living these experiences and emotions that story writers share with readers.

I played through Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, and got deeply inspired by the iconic Jim Raynor character. He taught me that no matter how problems rain and pour down on you like acid, your heart and soul shall not be broken by nothing nor by anyone. That you shall always have hope that one day things will be better. You don’t need to be a religious person to learn that from Jim Raynor — from Robert Clotworthy — the soul of Jim Raynor. You are both a true hero. In our hearts. The players’ hearts. A hero to the real-life human beings behind the screen. Behind the keyboards. You teach us how to fight. A fight worth fighting for.

Back to the Voice Over topic, the entire expansion was mostly Tricia Helfer (Sarah Kerrigan). I will always have to bring it up, I can’t help it. I regret not hearing Glynnis Talken in her role as Kerrigan.I grew fond of Glynnis as much as I did Robert. Yet, I can’t deny Tricia Helfer has done an amazing job voicing Kerrigan, giving her certain tinges to the character that sound attractive and compelling.

There are scenes that demand that she is sweet and girly. Sometimes she has to cry and regret her actions or the fate of others she cares for. She got to be even manlier than Xena the Warrior Princess when she goes rage-mode during a fight. Tricia dominates all those shades of the emotional spectrum. I dig her.

Emperor Arcturus Mengsk (James Harper), Valerian Mengsk (Josh Keaton), Matt Horner (Brian Bloom) and Zeratul (Fred Tatasciore) do not appear often in Heart of the Swarm, but I admire their voices and personalities. I wouldn’t want any other actor replacing them ever. Hopefully, we see them in StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void more often.

The voices of the zerg support characters that accompany Kerrigan in the Leviathan bio-vessel and those in other zerg planets impressed me. Each has their unique personality and manner of speech. It’s not easy to talk like an alien zerg, or heck — it’s not easy to read a script that while it’s in english, the grammar is so messed up — bordering into non-sense, it would be hard to read and catch it on the first go. I imagine it took them hours of recording time and several attempts to get it right. Especially, Abathur and Dehaka who are the hardest ones, but Zagara and Izsha sound lovely, too. My respects. Great voices. Kudos to the VO Team.

Cinematics

Senior VP Art & Cinematic Development Nick Carpenter and his Team nailed Heart to the Swarm’s soul with these cinematics. There are sad moments. There are intense adrenaline-driven battles. There are romantic/nostalgic scenes between Jim Raynor and Kerrigan. Moments of blind rage suddenly shifting into regret and then into mercy. Those moments are captured in the cinematics and in-game cutscenes and transmitted into the fans’ brain and down their spine with a thrill. The Cinematics Team and the Voice Over Team captured all the real-life emotion spectrums of what is to be a human being.

The story and the visual animation and facial gestures boost the overall experience fans demand and expect from Blizzard Entertainment and its Cinematic Team. Though we always take it for granted, the Cinematic Team always surprise us with the “ohhhhh!!!’s”, “OMG!!!’s””, “Holy @#%!!!’s”, and “Wowww!!!’s”.

There are three Cinematics where Kerrigan uses her telekinetic and psionic powers to render her opponents into smithereens: The cinematic showing a mega-beat up Kerrigan gives Zeratul, the “Shifting Perspectives” cinematic, and the final cinematic are simply mind-blowing. Those three definitely need a BAFTA Award nomination. I really wish I could describe them in detail, but I’d be spoiling critical elements of the story.

The “Get it Together” Cinematic, where Jim and Kerrigan kiss. It’s such a powerful and special scene. The Terran Dominion Battlecruisers launch pods to infiltrate and raid the Umojan Protectorate lab in search of Kerrigan. She’s found, Jim Raynor comes to the rescue, but it turns out she took care of the invaders all by herself. This is not a damsel in distress. She takes care of business. In her anger, she mouths out she’s bringing payback to Emperor Mengsk, but Raynor comes from behind and grabs her by the arm pulling her and forcing her to turn around 180 degrees to face him. She looks into his eyes. Her rage is soothed, and she melts into his eyes. Raynor asks her to get it together. She softens up. That scene was kinda cute and sexy.

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Jim Raynor wants to escort her to the dropship, and opens up the gate like a gentleman to let her exit the room. This is a very human Kerrigan. One who is deeply in love. They kiss. I felt a thrill through my spine. One who acknowledges and respects all the sacrifices Jim Raynor went through to rescue her and to bring her back. There is humor and sexual innuendo to boot. That cinematic is definitely among my favorite ones in Heart of the Swarm.

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One cinematic that made me angered was the “Conscience” Cinematic, but that had nothing to do with the quality of the cinematics. The outcome of what happens at Planet Char is what bothers me. Such a waste. Yet, there is a shift of three mood-states happening within seconds apart that really touches the player’s heart to the core. First anger for what happens. Then, Kerrigan’s face turns from one of rage to one of regret. She looks fragile and human as she closes her eyes and her brows frown after what she did — displaying regret. Then a glow on her face shows her determination. One only realizes what just happened after hearing the radio transmission. Something one might never have imagined the Queen of Blades feeling ever again: Mercy. One can quickly feel portrayed in that scene. That reflects our daily life. That was a powerful scene. I loved it.

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To wrap up, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is an awesome gameplay experience with new and exciting lore to match. If you haven’t upgraded to the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm (Standard Edition) yet, I encourage you to do so. The Collector’s Edition is still available while supplies last– by the way, and both are elegible for FREE Super Saver Shipping.

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Reserve Your World of Warcraft Arthas Polystone Statue

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

    Update: The Arthas Polystone Statue has shipped.

I contacted Sideshow Collectibles recently to find out the specific release date. The Sideshow Collectibles World of Warcraft Arthas Polystone Statue is shipping at the end of March. In a matter of two weeks, this masterpiece will be shipping to your home.

There are 11 million World of Warcraft players out there. Only 3000 statues are made. Make sure to reserve yours while supplies last. There are two pre-order options:

  • A single payment of $349.99
  • Flex-Pay: Payment Plan for as little as $116.66/mo

A non-Refundable $35 is charged to the credit card to make the reservation. Sideshow Collectibles will send an email to customers a few days prior to the shipment to alert the credit card will be charged based on the payment plan selected. Check out the gallery at the bottom of this page for a close up of various angles.

Returning to the World of Warcraft, Sideshow Collectibles is proud to announce the Arthas Statue. Crafted in high quality polystone, every facet of the dreaded Lich King is captured in detailed 1:5 scale. Wielding the Runeblade Frostmourne and measuring 19 inches tall atop the icy terrain of Northrend, the Arthas Statue is an impressive addition to any collection.

Backstory

Arthas Menethil, son of King Terenas Menethil II and heir to the throne, received training as a paladin under the expert tutelage of Uther the Lightbringer. He was inducted into the Knights of the Silver Hand at age 19, and quickly became a renowned warrior in the savage First War.

However, his life would turn to darkness and corruption as he spearheads a battle against the unfathomable Plague of Undeath. Led by the dreadlord Mal’Ganis at the behest of the Lich King, the Scourge destroys the innocent, transforming them into an army of undead.

Obsessed with confronting Mal’Ganis and obtaining the Runeblade Frostmourne, Arthas gradually sacrifices soldiers and innocents alike, along with his loyalty to the Knights, his honor, and even his sanity.

When he succeeds in capturing the sword, it is the Lich King himself who speaks to Arthas and commands the slaying of Mal’Ganis. Now a death knight, he leads the Scourge, an instrument of destruction and evil. After murdering his own father, Arthas does not step onto the throne he was born to, but instead takes the mantle of Lich King.

Specs

Product Type: Polystone Statue

Product Size: 19″ H (482.6mm) x 19.5″ W (495.3mm) x 20″ L (508mm)*

Product Weight: 20.00 lbs (9.07 kg)*

Box Size: 21.00″ H (533.4mm) x 21.00″ W (533.4mm) x 22.00″ L (558.8mm)*

Est. Shipping Weight: 22.00 lbs (9.98 kg)*

Dimensional Weight (DIM): 49 lbs *

Int’l Dimensional Weight (DIM): 68 lbs *

* Product size and weight are approximate values. Est. Ship Weight is an estimated value for U.S. shipping calculated by item, box and shipping materials. US shipping costs may be estimated in DIM weight if oversized warning appears above. click here for additional information. International shipping costs are only based on dimensional weight, click here for more information.

Artists:

  • Anthony Mestas (Paint)
  • Bernardo Esquivel (Paint)
  • Idol Workshop (Sculpt)
  • Brian Fay (Sculpt)
  • Kingslayer Rhooria (Design)

Manufactured by: Sideshow Collectibles

 

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Amazon Ships StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

All those fans who heed my call to pre-order the StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition should check out their Amazon account-associated email. Amazon has shipped the game already and provided a delivery track number.

Haven’t ordered the Collector’s Edition? Seems Amazon is still taking orders!! The order button is still enabled.

Note: I got an email from Amazon informing me the game has shipped. A few months ago, I had shared my live chat conversation with an Amazon representative who instructed me to cancel my older pre-order and to pre-order with the ship on same date option enabled.

Amazon Shipment Email

This is why I love to pre-order from Amazon — the game shipped March 11th at 3:08pm from a warehouse located in Delaware. By March 11th at 11pm it was already in New York City. It will be on my door in less than 24 hours, ready for release date (March 12th). No need to stand in a long line to be told there is no Collector’s Edition for me, or that I had to pre-order it first, or other non-sense.

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Yahoooooooooo !!!!

This is me after reading my Amazon shipment confirmation email

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Blizzplanet Preview – World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft News

Way back on July 2011, Blizzard Entertainment and DC Comics revealed their development of the Horde and Alliance graphic novels.

World of Warcraft: Bloodsworn will ship on August 13, 2013. Follow the link to pre-order it.

Blizzard Entertainment sent us today three images to share with our lore audience — the Bloodsworn Graphic Novel front cover and two preview images.


Description

As the Cataclysm rips through Azeroth, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream orders the best warriors of the Horde to come forward and serve in a new army, lest their foes in the Alliance sense weakness and attack. We meet these warriors as they come forward – from very different lands, backgrounds, traditions…Will they be able to overcome their deep differences and work together to serve the Horde, especially when challenged by a powerful, unfamiliar race claiming to be the real rulers of Azeroth?

Writer: Doug Wagner
Artist: Jeremias Raapack

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 152 pages
Publisher: DC Entertainment
Release Date: August 13, 2013

ISBN-10: 1401230296
ISBN-13: 978-1401230296

 
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StarCraft: Kerrigan – Hope and Vengeance # 0 Becomes # 1 Amazon Best Seller

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-kerrigan-hope-and-vengeance-0-coverThe StarCraft: Kerrigan – Hope and vengeance # 0 has become the #1 Amazon Best Seller in Superhero Comics & Graphic Novels (Top 100 Free Listing), and the # 2 Amazon Best Sellers in Graphic Novels (Top 100 Free listing) and # 1 Amazon Best Sellers in Single Issue Comics (Top 100 Free Listing) in less than 48 hours. Very impressive.

Congratulations to Cameron Dayton and Blizzard Entertainment / Creative Team for this feat and for Cameron Dayton and James Waugh’s promotion to Senior Story Developer.

Download and read the FREE digital comics:

Check out our review of this digital comics here.

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Zerg Attack — Humanity Fights Back #SwarmLaunch (Video)

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

[static] — this is NICK. We’re low on ammo and need immediate backup. Right now. Our defense has gone FUBAR [static]

That was the last communication from the Blizzard Entertainment Headquarters. I know each of you have your share of SNAFU today, but we must investigate our main command center and support our forces there.

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[static] … thousands of Zerglings are F[kkkkzz] sweeping across the city. Our sweet New York City.

I call upon all eSport players and newbs … any survivors out there … report for duty immediately! This is a global DEFCON 1 situation. It’s serious business.

Paris is gone. We must not allow the same fate to take hold in each of our remaining cities and nations. New Yor– [static] is under attack.

Dammit, do you hear that? They are crawling up through the elevator shaft. GRENADE!!!

Repeat. we need immediate backup.

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As soon as you pwn this zerg in your local bunkers, set route to the nearest airport.

Any SCV experts will be deeply appreciated to rendevouz there. See if there’s any functional airplanes.

Our goal is crystal clear. Any and all capable hands are to rendezvous at the Blizzard Entertainment Headquarters. We must make sure there are survivors. All communications came to a halt an hour ago. All I could hear were screams and the sound of heavy artillery as the radio signal cracked up in static.

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We must help our brethren. We must secure our last bastion and hold our ground to eradicate this invading force. This situation has really goatrope on us. The zerg has caused TERRIBLE TERRIBLE DAMAGE throughout the globe.

We must be prepared to make heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. United as one. For the sake of humanity and our children. There is no task that is more important or closer to our hearts.

March 12th will be our last stand. Huh?! Did you hear that? … Oh krap! … I love you Sarge. —– [KKkkttttzzz]

***Secure your StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm Collector’s Edition while supplies last.

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Project Blackstone – Jacob Ramsey Discovers Living Protoss Specimens

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Project Blackstone, StarCraft 2 News

Blizzard Entertainment updated the Project Blackstone website today. Jacob Ramsey (Xenoarchaeologist/Protoss Specialist) has an interesting dialogue with Dr. Talen Ayers (Xenobiologist, Senior Zerg Specialist).

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cameron-dayton-1Ramsey complaints the Blackstone team is currently conducting experiments and taking samples from living Protoss specimens held captive.

Dr. Talen Ayers had no idea this was happening. Apparently, Jacob Ramsey’s brain has changed since Zamara’s mind was removed from it. He can hear the screams of the Protoss captives.

I can’t wait to find out where Ramsey has been since StarCraft: Dark Templar trilogy, and why exactly he was transferred to join the Project Blackstone team.

It’s very clear he is against Emperor Mengsk and against the Project Blackstone’s experiments.

Visit the Project Blackstone website to read the latest update.

The Project Blackstone saga isn’t static in the website. The story is expanded also in Twitter where each character has its own Twitter account to interact with each other.

Project Blackstone Characters on Twitter

Update

I wish to take the opportunity to congratulate Cameron Dayton (Transmedia strategist and story developer). A few minutes ago he announced on Twitter that he has been promoted to Senior Story Developer. Congratulations!!!

May the new upgraded pen with +500 intellect and spirit give you the wisdom to write even better Azeroth / Kropulu / Sanctuary stories.

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0 Free Comic Book

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

starcraft-ii-heart-of-the-swarm-kerrigan-hope-and-vengeance-0-coverBlizzard Entertainment released a FREE comic book titled StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0.

I think I have never seen Blizzard post a comic book # 0 before just days before a video game or expansion. I personally like this type of bonus material meant to tease us, and to inform us fans of a depth story surrounding the initial mission and cutscenes in the upcoming expansion.

The comic book is written by Cameron Dayton (Story Developer, Writer, and Transmedia Strategist) and penciled by Zoddd.

Download the FREE Comics

Download the FREE StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0 from your favorite digital book source:

In Amazon if you have an account there. If you don’t have Kindle, just select Kindle Cloud to read it on your internet browser. The Comics is Free.

In Comixology you can read the comics on your tablet, smartphone or on your internet browser (PC/Mac). Requires a comixology account registration. Add to cart. Check out, then choose your platform.

Review

The FREE comic book only contains 8-pages, and this is definitely somehow tied with Chris Metzen & Flint Dille’s experimental format with IDW Transformers: Autocracy — published as an 8-page digital comics every two weeks. A year later, the comics was published as a Trade Paper Back (TPB) in Hardcover format. Both authors are currently publishing the continuation to Autocracy … Transformers: Monstruosity (# 1-12) launched on March 1.

My question to ponder here is whether this StarCraft II FREE comics is a one-shot # 0, or if this #0 means we might see soon an ongoing series. The first time I ever saw a #0 comics from Blizzard Entertainment, DC Comics had launched the World of Warcraft ongoing comics which lasted a whooping 25 issues.

I don’t know any information about an ongoing StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm comics. I do know the StarCraft II graphic novel by Transformers fame writer Simon Furman and published by DC Comics is in production with no ETA.

That aside, this Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0 story is written by Blizzard Entertainment Transmedia and story writer Cameron Dayton — who is involved in the Project Blackstone. He’s brought several great stories on twitter, and on the StarCraft II website’s Short Stories.

flashpointIn this #0 comics, we see Sarah Kerrigan right after the final page of StarCraft II: Flashpoint. I can’t stress this enough. Please read this novel by New York Times bestselling author Christie Golden. It’s a heavy-hit in the Starcraft storyline.

Following continuity with StarCraft II: Flashpoint, Kerrigan is studied in an orbital platform’s lab somewhere in the Umojan Protectorate. It’s been 16 days since Sarah entered the lab chamber. Prince Valerian Mengsk is overseeing the progress. Many assistants have died tending to Sarah during her comatose stay in the lab.

Her brain activity has been almost non-existent, when suddenly a surge of memories go through her mind spiking computer sensors.

We see some flashbacks of Sarah’s past as a child, and as a teen. Some of these are likely in continuity with StarCraft: Uprising by Micky Neilson and the scene in the comic showing Sarah and Jim Raynor might be a flashback seen in StarCraft II: Flashpoint.

I find it intriguing that Kerrigan can read Valerian’s thoughts when she wakes up. One would guess Valerian uses psi-screens to prevent telepaths from reading him, but either he doesn’t use them or Kerrigan’s powerset is high enough to bypass even psi-screens? I don’t know.

I can say that reading these 8-pages itched something in my mind. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm is in my hands in six days, March 12th. And you bet I’ll be playing through the single-player campaign to learn more about Sarah and the overall story in this second episode.

Yet, I am craving for more StarCraft comics. I love Blizzard’s storytelling. I like my monthly fix of Warcraft, StarCraft or Diablo — thus, this 8-page format is very welcome because it doesn’t take too much out of the writer and artists to pump out material, as a full comics or a graphic novel would.

I’ll rather wait 30 days for my next 8-pages, than to wait a year or two for a graphic novel. I’d get the graphic novel too, however, don’t get me wrong. Bottomline: Blizzard, give me my bi-weekly 8-pages fix for each franchise or why not, several stories. I don’t mind.

One thing for sharp-eyed fans … notice there is no DC Comics logo in this # 0 comics? It was published by Blizzard Entertainment, brewed in-house by the Creative Team and Publishing Team. Is this the harbinger of more juicy and lovely Blizzard Entertainment-published projects? Hmm …

Checkout this excellent “Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0″ comics at comixology.

UPDATE: Cameron Dayton confirmed this #0 comic is a test to probe fan response. If many fans read it, we might see many more 8-pages comics (bi-weekly) based on StarCraft II, Diablo III and World of Warcraft. Whether you are a StarCraft player or not, PLEASE, download the FREE comic today.

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StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm – Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance # 0

No single human being has been more inseparably tied to the twisted destinies of the terran, protoss, and zerg races than Sarah Kerrigan. She has risen from the ranks of soldier and rebel to become the unstoppable Queen of Blades, supreme ruler over a race of bloodthirsty aliens. But now she has fallen from her seat of power and been taken in by those who wish to separate the woman from the monster–a task which may be more difficult than it was to dethrone her. Take a look inside the mind of one of the greatest villains in gaming history and prepare yourself for StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm with this explosive new comic from Blizzard Entertainment, Kerrigan: Hope and Vengeance.

Writer: Cameron Dayton
Artist: Zoddd
Cover: David Lomeli
Letterer: Clem Robins
Art Director: Doug Alexander
Editor: Micky Neilson & Cate Gary

Special thanks: Laurel Austin
Creative Direction: Chris Metzen & Brian Kindregan

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Razer Edge Pro 256GB and Razer Edge 128GB Available Now

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News, Technology, World of Warcraft News

Razer unveiled the Razer Edge (codename: Project Fiona) at CES2013 winning the Best of Show CES 2013 and People’s Voice CES 2013 Awards. Razer Edge also won four coveted CES 2012 Awards. It’s a gaming tablet that can be played in four-modes: Tablet Mode, Keyboard Mode, Mobile Console Mode, and Home Console Mode.

Both the Razer Edge Pro Tablet (256GB) for $1,499, and the Razer Edge (128GB) for $1299 are available for pre-order. The price is staggering high, but that doesn’t stop gamers from buying one.

The Razer Blade Gaming Laptop was considered very expensive considering you can get a similar setup for less, and still about three shipping waves sold out consecutively. The Razer Edge tablet will ship on March 2013. Once that batch is sold out, the next shipping wave will go out on May 2013. If you fancy one of these, better pre-order the March wave while supplies last — which is not too long from now.

Crazy stuff! These are the tech specs for the Razer Edge Pro 256GB Tablet.

Below you can see some photos and the available optional docking mode peripherals.

Tech Specs

Specs   Razer Edge Pro  
Processor Intel Core i7 Dual core w/ Hyper Threading Base 1.9GHz / Turbo 3.0GHz  
Memory 8GB DDR3 (2x4GB 1600MHz)  
Video Intel HD4000 (DX11)
NVIDIA GT 640M LE (2GB DDR3, Optimus Technology)
 
Display 10.1” (IPS, 1366×768)
Multi-touch HD display
 
Operating System Windows 8  
Storage 128/256GB SSD (SATA-III)*  
Network Intel WLAN (802.11b/g/n + BT4)  
Others Stereo speakers
Codec supports 7.1 (via HDMI through optional Docking Station)
HD Webcam (front-facing, 2MP)
Array microphones
Dolby Home Theater v4
USB 3.0 x1 (green, SuperSpeed)
Audio jack (3.5mm, 4-pole, stereo out / mic in)

Razer Edge Docking Station (Home Console Mode)

The Razer Edge Docking Station connects your Razer Edge to a desktop display and peripherals. This docking station allows players to hook up an HDMI cable to a big screen TV (HDTV) and up to two gamepad controllers.

The docking station basically turns your Razer Edge tablet into a Game Console. It expands your tablet with 3x USB 2.0 ports, an HDMI port, and a MIC in/Stereo out port.

Razer Edge Gamepad Controller

The Razer Gamepad Controller for Razer Edge converts your tablet into a Mobile Console placing the tablet on a peripheral attachment that adds two analog sticks placed to the left and right of the tablet. It has a immersive vibration-feedback and direct reflective acoustics, a backlit D-Pad and action buttons. (Xinput support)

The Gamepad Controller has an optional extended battery and power adapter (sold separately).

The Keyboard Mode dock station will be available at a later time. It basically converts the Razer Edge tablet into a small laptop.

StarCraft II on the Razer Edge

Alright, I know what you are thinking. “Why not get a laptop for the same price? It’s a matter of choice. Do you want a tablet like the iPad, or the Surface but also want high-end mobile video gaming on it? Then the Razer Edge can give you that … edge. And it runs on Windows 8 (DX11). I can also hear you: “Can this piece of [beep] run my favorite video games?” get the optional keyboard mode peripheral and you can play StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft, and Diablo III.

Let’s say you are a proGamer and need to travel to other countries to play against the best StarCraft II players. You want to travel light, without setting up a big system, or a heavy laptop. Bring the Razer Edge tablet, attach the keyboard docking station, or the Home Console docking station plugged into a big HDTV via HDMI. This video shows you StarCraft II on the Razer Edge using the Home Console docking station.

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eBay: Diablo III Treasure Goblin Auctioned?

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, Diablo 3 News

The same ex-Blizzard employee auctioning one of the Kerrigan Queen of Blades Bust Statue is now auctioning one of those awesome Diablo III Treasure Goblin given to Blizzard employees a couple of months ago during the holidays (as seen here).

I’m disappointed to see this piece going to auction when it was gifted just a few weeks ago. All I can muster is that the person is in terrible need while a new job comes into the horizon.

Thanks @dperschonok

“Auctioner Bulkhead: Greetings fellow Diablo fans! Up for a Buy it Now/Best Offer auction is an extremely rare Diablo III Treasure Goblin statue that was made exclusively as a 2012 holiday gift for select Blizzard Employees. Since this is still brand new and sealed, I do not know what limited edition number this is. Again, this was never sold to the public and is a one of a kind item that you could only get by working on the franchise.

The Treasure Goblin has been designed by former McFarlane Toys sculptor Brian Fay, who also designed the Sideshow Collectibles Arthas statue! Brian now works as Blizzard’s Sculpting Lead! The statue is housed in an awesome box, featuring an outline of the Treasure Goblin on the back, and a “Treasure Wish List” on the side.

Below, I have included a photo Tweeted by Blizzard’s Nick Carpenter (the 2nd photo), so you can see what the statue looks like, but remember that the one I am selling is BRAND NEW/NEVER OPENED! The first photo has the regular head. The second photo has the “Santa Claus Holiday head” for the Goblin. Your statue will come with both interchangeable heads!

Given the rarity of this particular item, I am open to best offers. If you run out of offers, just send me an email using the “Ask A Question” link at the bottom of this page and we can work something out. Or you can use the “Buy it Now” option to grab this beauty right away!

Here are the terms for this auction:

1) Paypal only, please.
2) The figure will be shipped out for $14 within the U.S. and $50 outside the United States, including insurance!
3) Detailed photos of the actual item have been included, so all sales are final, please.

My feedback speaks for itself, so please purchase/send offers with confidence :) Please click here to check out my other auctions, including other awesome video game items!”

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Planetary Zerg Alert: StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm global launch party details announced

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, StarCraft 2 News

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Blizzard Entertainment announced the Heart of the Swarm expansion Global Launch Party plans. Day [9] and Husky will be commentating live eSports for 21-hours as US and South Korea pro gamers clash.

Day-long launch broadcast to feature “King of the Beta” matches between top pro gamers, community-created content, & live event coverage

IRVINE, Calif. –(BUSINESS WIRE)– Tune in or turn out and be absorbed into the hive mind at the global StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm™ launch party! Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today shared its plans for the official Heart of the Swarm launch events taking place in the US, France , Australia , South Korea , Singapore , Taiwan , Russia , Brazil , and Mexico starting in the evening of March 11 . At each of these events, Blizzard developers and key retail partners will host gamers from around the world who want to be among the first to join Kerrigan, the Queen of Blades, in her quest to reunite the zerg Swarm.

In addition to the nine official launch events, thousands of stores worldwide will be open at midnight to welcome players and help roll out the next chapter in the epic saga of StarCraft II. (Check with local retailers for hours and availability.)

To kick things off and follow the celebration as it spreads across the planet, Blizzard will be cohosting a special 21-hour launch broadcast with noted eSports personality and commentator Sean “Day[9]” Plott, in conjunction with Twitch.tv, at http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. Starting at 3:00 a.m. PDT on March 11 , the stream will give viewers around the world the opportunity to watch the Australia , South Korea , France , and US launch events live. Viewers will also be treated to additional exclusive content, including community-created videos and “King of the Beta” tournament matches between top pro gamers, hosted by Day[9], who’ll be transmitting from a bunker deep inside Blizzard’s Irvine HQ.

“The StarCraft community has been anticipating Heart of the Swarm for a long time,” said Mike Morhaime , CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment . “I believe you will find it was worth the wait. We’re looking forward to celebrating the release by hosting an awesome global launch party in two weeks and delivering our best StarCraft content to date.”

In the US, the official launch event will be hosted by Blizzard and retail partner GameStop at:

The Great Wheel Court of the Irvine Spectrum Mall
71 Fortune Drive
Irvine, CA 92618

Local festivities will start at 9:00 p.m. PDT on March 11 , and will feature special guest hosts from the StarCraft II and eSports community, including commentators Day[9] and Mike “Husky” Lamond. Live eSports show matches will be played by top pro gamers from the US and South Korea , and demonstrations will introduce the crowd to some of the powerful new features included in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. A series of epic prize giveaways will round out the celebration, and when the clock strikes midnight, gamers will be able to pick up their copies of the expansion as well as have them autographed by members of the StarCraft II development team.

Attendees at the official StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm launch events will have the opportunity to purchase† the standard edition of the game (suggested retail price $39.99 ) as well as the retail-exclusive Collector’s Edition (suggested retail price $79.99 ), which contains the following bonus items in addition to the game disc:

  • Behind-the-Scenes DVD and Blu-ray: Immerse yourself in the StarCraft universe with developer commentary, interviews with voice actors, and an in-depth historical retrospective on StarCraft’s eSports legacy narrated by key members of the community.

  • Collector’s Edition Soundtrack CD: Enhance your Heart of the Swarm musical experience with this collection of 11 tracks from the game.
  • Heart of the Swarm Hardcover Art Book: This 144-page tome features never-before-seen art from the expansion, including early concept sketches and meticulous 3D renderings.
  • Zerg Rush Mousepad: This Collector’s Edition mousepad depicts the Terran Dominion holding out desperately under the onslaught of the Swarm.
  • StarCraft II Torrasque: Crush the enemies of the Swarm with the indomitable Torrasque, a fearsome new look for your zerg Ultralisks.
  • StarCraft II Portraits and Decals: New Swarm-infested portraits and decals help you customize the look of your online profile and in-game army.
  • World of Warcraft® In-Game Pet: The Baneling companion pet is bursting with enthusiasm and ready to explode onto the Pet Battles scene.
  • Diablo® III Blade Wings and Banner Sigil: Grow zerg-like wings in honor of the Queen of Blades, and unfurl an exclusive banner sigil to mark your allegiance to the Swarm in Sanctuary.

Heart of the Swarm picks up the story of StarCraft II where Wings of Liberty® left off, focusing on Kerrigan’s quest to reunite the Swarm and exact revenge on Arcturus Mengsk. Over the course of 20 campaign missions, players will follow Kerrigan as she sweeps across the galaxy, incorporating a variety of distinctive zerg species into her brood. Kerrigan will grow in strength from mission to mission, and players will be able to customize her with powerful new abilities, as well as evolve various zerg strains into fearsome new subspecies to suit their play style.

New weapons of war also debut in Heart of the Swarm’s multiplayer, including new units such as Terran Hellbats, Zerg Swarm Hosts, and Protoss Tempests, while certain existing units from Wings of Liberty will be updated with new capabilities. New features will enhance the game experience, including group and clan systems; unranked matchmaking; Global Play, enabling players to battle others in different regions around the world; additional stat tracking; user interface improvements; an enhanced physics system, for more visceral looking battles; multiplayer replays, to watch replays with friends; a leveling system that gives Heart of the Swarm players a new way to earn customization options for their online profiles; and much more.

Learn more about StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm at http://www.StarCraft2.com, and for further details on the global launch events and the 21-hour broadcast, visit http://www.StarCraft2.com/SwarmLaunch. With multiple games in development, Blizzard Entertainment has numerous positions currently open—visit http://jobs.blizzard.com for more information and to learn how to apply.

 
duncan-jones-wow-film

Duncan Jones Teases Working on the Warcraft Film Today

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Products News, World of Warcraft Film, World of Warcraft News

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This is hopefully going to spark life into the hearts of millions of fans awaiting the Warcraft film, and seriously choke the trolls and naysayers that called it vaporware.

Following Duncan Jones’ visit to the Blizzard Entertainment Irvine Headquarters a few days ago to talk with Blizzard VP of Creative and Franchise Development Chris Metzen — Duncan Jones posted today two tweets one right after the other.

One Tweet saidProducer Liberty Stu put this on my table while I was writing the other day. Not sure if it was a gift or a threat!

Curious about the picture link, I checked it out. It was a freaking “Epic Weapons Warcraft Doomhammer Replica”!!! Liberty Stu placed it on Duncan Jones’ table. Now you would ask — who in the world is Liberty Stu? Well … he’s Stuart Fenegan — the Executive Producer of the WARCRAFT film (Producer of MOON, Co-Producer of SOURCE CODE).

duncan-jones-doomhammer-gift

The second tweet said: “Writing today! I can’t wait! :)

Curious, as I always am, I candidly sent a tweet to Duncan Jones to ask if the Doomhammer and his “writing today” comment meant that he was actually writing some scenes for the Warcraft film based on the script — considering he visited Chris Metzen recently.

Duncan Jones responded: “Absolutely!

duncan-jones-writing-warcraft-film-scenes

There you go guys … the Warcraft film is full-speed ahead.

The big question is if Blizzard is going to make any big reveals about the Warcraft film at BlizzCon 2013 (November 8-9th). Or much much earlier? We want teasers. We want to hear when the role cast begins. We want to see photos of actors in scenes. We want viral teasers. OH YEAH! We want geeks teasing geeks. <3